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Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens are girls gone wild in 'Spring Breakers'

Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine
Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine
A24 Films

The raunchy and violent film "Spring Breakers" (released in 2013) is about four female college students — Candy (played by Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (played by Ashley Benson), Faith (played by Selena Gomez) and Cotty (played by Rachel Korine, who is married in real life to "Spring Breakers" writer/director Harmony Korine) — who commit robbery to finance a spring-break trip to Florida. Once in Florida, the four friends indulge in a lot of partying and get arrested for underage drinking and public intoxication.

Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Harmony Korine, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine at the Paris premiere of "Spring Breakers"
Getty Images

A gangster and part-time rapper named Alien (played by James Franco) bails the girls out of jail after seeing them during a court appearance. Faith grows increasingly uncomfortable with being around Alien, so she goes home, but Candy, Brit and Cotty stay with Alien and gleefully join him in his life of crime until one of the girls also goes home because of a gunshot injury. Harmony Korine is known for writing and directing offbeat, little-seen independent films, but "Spring Breakers" is his biggest and most mainstream hit so far. Here is what Franco, Gomez, Benson, Rachel Korine and Harmony Korine said during a Q&A after the U.S. premiere of “Spring Breakers” at a Paris press conference for the movie.

Harmony, how did you come up with the idea for “Spring Breakers”?

Harmony Korine: Spring break is such a cultural phenomenon in America. It’s once a year. Kids, adolescents, teenagers from certain parts of America experience this wild, primal animalistic week of sex and debauchery and violence and all that stuff. And then, at the end of the week, they go home and forget it ever happened.

And so, in some ways, spring break is metaphorical to this film, more symbolic. I had been collecting spring break imagery for a couple of years — pictures of kids going crazy on the beaches, tearing things up. The imagery, I started looking at it, the colors, the way things looked. The vernacular started to speak to me.

So one day I dreamt up this image of some girls on the ocean on the beach, robbing fat tourists — like in ski masks and bikinis, robbing tourists. I thought it was a striking, interesting image. And I just sort of fantasized and came up with the rest of it, the characters and the storylines, kind of made up.

Have any of you ever experienced spring break in real life? If not, was making a chance to live it out?

Gomez: None of the girls and I ever experienced spring break before, and I think we experienced the craziest one we could ever have. And we got it out of our system, so I don’t know if we’ll be doing it again.

In “Spring Breakers,” two of the girls decided to leave, and two stay with Alien. Was that always written in the script or did it organically happen that way?
Harmony Korine: It was always written that way. The girls, the four of them were always symbolic of a whole or a unit — four facets of an individual.

And so, the idea that one by ne, over the course of this journey they were having, that things would be stripped and that one would fall. Faith’s character was the morality, the religion, the soul. And once that falls, then you’re left with three. And then, Cotty goes, and then it becomes about a more wild, sociopathic, uninhibited, kind of an animalistic behavior.

For the actresses, was working with Harmony the same approach that you had with previous directors?

Hudgens: Working with Harmony is amazing. I think every single film you do is going to be a completely different experience, but Harmony’s was the most organic and fun and spontaneous for sure. He wasn’t directing us. He was almost guiding us. And he was so positive and so giving, he became one of the girls. We just had so much fun. He just allowed us to be spontaneous and play and use our environment. Seriously, it was unlike anything I had done before.

Benson: The one thing about Harm was that even before I got to Florida, he would send me these amazing text messages saying, “You’re meant to play this part. You are this part.”

He was so supportive. He was always complimenting us. Nothing was ever wrong. Everything that we did was right. He was just so supportive. He was really, really amazing. He made the environment super, super comfortable. He’s just a great guy.

Rachel Korine: I’ve worked with Harmony before, but to say the least, this film was something new for him. I think he wanted to explore a new world. Even the plot was more linear than he’s accustomed to. And he tried things with the cinematographer that he had never tried before. And then the cast — it was definitely a new and different experience.

For more info: "Spring Breakers" website